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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Jet Lag


Just when we thought we might have discovered the magic formula for avoiding jet lag (keep awake on the plane and put yourself on your destination's time the second you get on), day #3 hit.  I felt like I had a slow leak somewhere that was basically draining my life fluids.  All I could really take on in the afternoon was a package of pumpkin seeds eaten prone on the couch accompanied by the first season of the The Office.  No trouble falling asleep when the time came, but then at 12:30 A.M. I was bright eyed and bushy-tailed!  Initially, I played a game I made up where I go through each letter of the alphabet and think of countries and cities that begin with that letter.  I got to T and decided to get up and go downstairs.  First I found a box of hair accessories in the bathroom and messed with my hair for awhile.  Then I tried on some new clothes I ordered from Serengeti.  Following the fashion show, I perused some doll clothes patterns and then sat on the stairs playing with some little Chinese charms I'm taking to my knitting group tonight.  Every good insomniac eventually resorts to the internet--pinterest, etsy, facebook.  Inspired by my hairdressing session, I ordered a couple of hair gadgets and a book on DIY braiding on amazon.  Always the optimist (and knowing I had to get up at 6 to weed), I slipped back into the covers, but Mugsy's snoring and the enthusiastic roar of the  air conditioner were stiff competition even though I wound my way through U, V, W, and lastly Z.  This time I moved across the hall into our library and sat on the couch looking at my American girl doll clothes and reading old blogposts from 2010 in one of the bound books of this blog.  That was entertaining.  At 4:30 I finally fell asleep.  And that, my friends, is the downside of international travel--the only one I've discovered so far.  I see a nap in my near future.  A--Algeria, Athens, Atlanta, Arimo, Anaconda, Arizona, Akron...

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Baby Face


Let's start off with a Baby Face I really miss--Maren, a granddaughter in Utah.  She has a full-time job following and duplicating every act and word of her older sister Clara and fetching diapers for baby sister Norah.  Her memoirs will be entitled Life in My Father's Harem.

I'm posting random kid shots today just for the jolly of it.  I have a difficult time holding my camera back when a baby appears.  My Canon Elph (this IS an endorsement!) squirms and yells out in a muffled voice until I get it out of my purse.  Same with mops and dogs.  I am completely a victim.


Chinese babies, like most others, enjoy being snazzed up.  If you get your tongue just right, you can pretend you're a runway model!


I haven't met a mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa that didn't want to strut their beautiful baby in front of my camera.  Being allowed only one child (theoretically you can have two, but sometimes that costs you your job if you have a sibling.  The expense of multiple children does make them rare indeed) makes them as precious as rubies to their families.



I wish I were gutsy enough (I didn't want to appear twisted by focusing my camera down there) I'd have taken more pictures of the split-pants bare bottom culture here.  This little guy is about the age, so his butt is probably exposed.  Toilet training taken to a whole new science.


Ear hat thingies.


Some little girls' hats have these fake hair things hanging from the earmuffs.


Grandpa Love.



This is Liberty.  She and her older sister, Victoria, were born in Canada during university time of their parents.  A sibling in China is THE MOST PRECIOUS thing of all...


 I was going to do a whole post on grandpas, so I began observing them and taking pictures.  I think a collective Nobel prize should be given to Chinese grandfathers.  They are magnificent and seem to have limitless time and patient.  I have redefined my idea of adoration by observing them--so so touching.


Give this guy a year or so and he'll become what is known as a "Little Emperor"--all that the name implies.  That's why I like to catch them in their still innocent stage.  When they hit 8 or 9, they morph into...well, you can imagine.



 "Hey, Mad.  Wanna join me later for some mahjong?"




Unlike the dogs in our neighborhood who still avoid us, the kids have warmed.  We always stop and say "Hello".  In fact, Shou Shi (the daughter of one of my favorite Chinese friends who teaches English at UESTC) apparently thinks we ARE helloes!!  "Hello is going inside!" she says to her mother in Chinese.







 Chinese kiddoes wear these fancy arm protectors.  They are inexpensive and sold everywhere.  Grownups wear them too over their coats.  The closest I could come to a reason why was just to save the wear and tear on coat cuffs--or something.


Couldn't you just gobble her up????


 I'm planning a last minute kidnapping of this little friend.  She isn't rambunctious.  I just see her sitting quietly all Ferdinand-like on a step taking it all in.






Tao Tao--part of the neighborhood "gang".  She challenges my smiler skills, but she is so cute.  These neighborhood kids don't "premier" until three months.  Then you'll see  proud grandpas and grandmas out showing them around.  We ooh and ahh, and everybody is a winner!  Baby love has no language barriers!





 I caught her pre-bubble.


 A crazy straw in ANY language tastes the same.  The difference here is that the beverage usually has some sort of bean base.  I remember the first such drink I tried.  It had big booger-like globs of tapioca-type stuff.  And they're warm.
Caught me completely off guard.  I gag in remembrance...


This little Asian Tom Sawyer was enjoying a bowl of noodles with his family all squatting on the floor of a very crowded train station--waiting to head back to Tibet.  His family's conditions were obviously very meager and rustic, but his grin is worth a million dollars.


Friendly faces from a shore stop on our Yangtze River trip over Easter weekend.









This little Tibetan baby has a different hairstyle.  One of the customs here is to shave a baby girl's head several times in hopes of bringing forth thicker hair.  She, on the other hand, seems to be growing curls!!!!

That about wraps it up.  I've been a last minute flurry of blogness, in case you hadn't noticed.  Let's hear it for the nimble fingers of MadHadder...(a faint yay arises from the weary crowd as they gather up their empty popcorn boxes and shuffle enmasse out of the stadium...)


"Oh, Who Are the People In Your Tibetan Neighborhood?"


One of the pluses about living in the Sichuan province is the heavy Tibetan influence.  We wandered through the Tibetan section of Chengdu many times.  It was always a photographic gold mine.



We didn't make it to Tibet this year because our passports got hung up in Beijing, darn it.  I was sorely disappointed because Tibet is tiptop on my list.  Next year.  Nepal as well.  Perhaps it will be healed by then.  Such a dramatic turn of events there.


I prefer to think of these shops as the Chinese Deseret Book--your one-stop shopping for all things Buddhist.


I probably ought to crop my pictures, but I love to look at the whole panorama.  The streets of China tell the whole story!




This center guy is a dead-ringer for one of the BYU China teachers, Jack Rose.



The Gap for monks!


These colors are actually very soothing, don't you think?



Oh, if I had room in my suitcase.  I can so see my mother or Aunt Norma or Aunt Dorothy lugging this thing home and making it the centerpiece of a Christmas dining table.



Graven Images 'R Us!




I purchased one of these back baby carriers and sent it home.  Hope to see a grandkid in it.  Actually I'm looking for an adult version so that Paco can transport me around in a few years...



I have found the Tibetans to be absolutely beautiful, as evidenced by this striking young lady.








This jewelry seems to have stock market qualities.  Sometimes when I go I can get bargains, but when I go back a week later things have tripled!  My favorite necklace (which I thought I could just breeze back and find again) was sent to Chile with my sister Norma on a mission there.  She may have gotten the last of the breed!!



Worlds of mystery...



Among the three things we were instructed not to discuss in China that start with "T" is Tibet.  It is politically charged.  You don't see them in my pictures, but policemen abound in this neighborhood.


I would have liked to interview this dad.  I wouldn't ask him anything political--just one question--HOW DO YOU KEEP THAT LACE SHAWL SO WHITE????????????????????

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley